While it is generally women who are accused of histrionic behavior (see: any one of their Instagram accounts, whether high-level influencer or low-level wannabe, and also the fact that “women are diagnosed with HPD roughly four times as often as men”), the “male” tendency toward it cannot be denied. Nor the fact that when a “man” does have Histrionic Personality Disorder, the consequences are often far graver (no murder pun intended). Let us take one of the most glaring examples of this phenomenon in the form of Michael Alig, recently departed by way of a heroin overdose (even going so far as to seek attention via such a dramatic death). His entire existence was based upon upping the ante on methods of being noticed. He craved attention as though it were a SAD lamp, giving off, at the bare minimum, 10,000-lux rays of approval in his direction.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because, yes, the current “president” still clinging to his final dregs of power is the same way. In both the cases of the Orange One and Alig, it’s the stock excuse of blaming childhood for their eventual mutation into monsters, one political and one party. For Alig, being bullied as a South Bend, Indiana gay boy was likely plenty of negative attention to make him yearn for the approval that came with “positive” attention of his own making. For Trump, constantly desiring to both one-up and be revered by his patriarch has led to the gross ogre we see before us today (though Daddy Trump was perhaps even more despicable–or it might be neck and neck–it’s just that he didn’t end up ascending to the highest office in America in order to spread that contemptibility so far).
Like a not so distant cousin of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, HPD, too, leaves “men” feeling (granted, they can’t feel much at all) cold and unmoved by anything other than validation, often by soaking up the energies of those around them–whether women or “men”–manipulating the social strata for purposes that will make them the center of the “narrative” they’ve crafted in their mind. One in which, of course, they’re the star. It’s all very Norma Desmond, herself likely a sufferer of the disorder.
Alig’s blasé approach to the murder of Angel Melendez retrospectively comes off more than ever as a symptom not only of HPD, but white “male” privilege. Drugged out of his mind or not, if Alig was Black or Latino, there’s no goddamn level of inebriation that would’ve made him think it was okay (a.k.a. he would get with it) to kill someone… and then dismember him. HPD itself also reeks of a privilege generally reserved for white “men,” which is just another reason it’s a more odious disorder in this sex than in the female one (no one ever got that upset over seeing some titties and ass flashed at them for attention, whereas being, oh, murdered or subjugated in cruel and unusual ways tends to be the fallout for dealing with a “man” who has HPD).
For those who fell for Alig’s “good time” shenanigans, tinged with such an overt toxicity as they were, it was difficult to reconcile–especially for Melendez, clearly–that they had been mere props in his tableau. Still, some were happy to be associated with and used by him even after he was jailed, visiting him at the correctional facility as though it was just another “offbeat” locale where he was having a party. That’s the thing about “male” histrionics: they’re oddly capable of maintaining a devoted following. Even long after they’re dead.